Swedish Match says it will defend itself vigorously against an allegation that it abused is dominant position on the Swedish Market when implementing a uniform labeling system for snus coolers.
In a note posted on its website, SM said the Swedish Competition Authority had conducted an investigation regarding a uniform labelling system for snus coolers owned by Swedish Match and placed in retail outlets.
‘On December 9, 2014, the Competition Authority submitted a lawsuit to the Stockholm district court,’ it said.
‘In its submission, the Competition Authority alleges that Swedish Match, when implementing the labelling system, has abused a dominant position on the Swedish snus market in breach of the competition legislation.
‘Swedish Match does not agree with this allegation and will defend the case vigorously.’
SM went on to explain that standardized labels were widely used for different consumer goods categories on the Swedish market in order to create an orderly and transparent category presentation.
‘Swedish Match implemented its labelling system for the same purpose,’ the note said. ‘The labelling system applied uniformly to Swedish Match’s own products and to products of other manufacturers.
‘The implementation of the labelling system started at the end of 2012, but it was shortly thereafter withdrawn.
‘Swedish Match is of the opinion that the labelling system did not impact sales of other manufacturers, complies with market standards and that the Swedish Competition Authority has based its opinion on false assumptions about the purpose of the labelling system.’
The Competition Authority is seeking penalties of SEK38 million (about US$5 million).